When people think of pasta, they often picture a dish made from wheat flour mixed with water or eggs, flattened into a sheet, and cut into thin strips to make the noodles. However, there are various shapes of pasta available in the market. They can have the form of tubes, shells, ribbons, and even a twirling ballerina!
There's another kind of unique pasta, which is ravioli. It consists of fresh pasta sheets loaded with filling, either meat, cheese, herbs, or vegetables. Once the filling has been added, the sheets are folded and sealed.
Ravioli is often mistaken for dumplings because of their pillow-like shape. Nonetheless, it's a genuinely iconic Italian dish that makes a hearty meal packed with flavor.
Ravioli is an Italian dish consisting of an egg pasta wrapping that you can fill with various ingredients, such as meat, ricotta cheese, mushrooms, and vegetables. It is derived from the old Italian word riavvolgere, which means "to wrap."
This dish is a part of the Italian tradition, particularly in northern Italy. Most of the time, ravioli is served alone with light sauces based on butter and sage, tomato, or rich meat broth. There are also ravioli dishes that are baked with cream sauces after being boiled.
The recipe starts by mixing the egg, flour, salt, olive oil, and water to make the pasta dough. Knead the dough until it has turned into a smooth, moist consistency and allow it to rest. While doing so, make the filling. Most of the time, the filling is cooked and mixed with an egg, so it stays together.
Place a small spoonful of dough approximately one and a half centimeters apart before placing another pasta sheet on top. Use a ravioli rolling pin to roll over the two pieces of dough and the filling. This method sandwiches the filling into small pockets of dough that can be cut apart and cooked.
Ravioli was first served in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, "the capital of filled pasta." Its traditional fillings consist of mortadella or prosciutto with Parmigiano, nutmeg, and pepper. The dish was prepared with meat sauce and fresh cream with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
By the 14th century, all kinds of pasta ripena began to appear in Italy due to the influence of China with dumplings and stuffed wontons. Each region would have its version of stuffed pasta with local ingredients and give them local names. Later on, stuffed pasta became more popular in the Middle Ages.
Ravioli was also mentioned in a cookbook by King Richard II's chefs during the 14th century in England. They refer to this dish as "rauioles" and use sheep's milk cheese or ricotta as the ravioli's filling.
In the 16th century Rome, Bartolomeo Scappi served ravioli with tomato sauce in a papal conclave. This also made way to introduce tomatoes in Italian dishes.
Ravioli has become quite popular among pasta lovers in the country. This came to the point that they celebrate National Ravioli Day on the 20th of March every year.
There's also a Jewish delicacy based on ravioli, named kreplach. This is made by filling an egg pasta with meat or other stuffing.
The Indian cuisine gujiya also uses this concept. However, unlike ravioli's savory taste, gujiya is a sweet pasta dumpling filled with sugar, sweet spices, and dry fruits.
Ravioli can easily be confused with tortellini and agnolotti because these three stuffed pasta dishes are nearly identical. However, you can easily distinguish them from each other through their shapes, fillings, and techniques used to make them.
Tortellini is similar to ravioli because they can be both served in a broth of meat or tomato. However, while ravioli and agnolotti take more of a pillow-like form, tortellini is folded and pinched into a ring shape.
On the other hand, agnolotti uses a single pasta sheet instead of two. This dish is made by folding the pasta sheet over a meat or vegetable filling. The most popular filling for agnolotti is meat stewed in red wine. There's also a version of agnolotti in the Monferrato region where it is stuffed with donkey meat.
If you're the type of person who finds making ravioli from scratch a hassle, then go for frozen ravioli. Aside from they're easy to prepare, you can now order them online.
However, it would help if you kept in mind these following tips, so you are getting the best out of their prices:
Buying online hinders you from physically assessing the product. You have no idea if the product lives up to its claims or if it tastes good. The best way to know these things is to check customer reviews. In this way, you see the customer's different opinions about the product and the company's services.
If you find all the reviews with high ratings, you can trust this product to deliver outstanding quality. However, if you only see complaints, think carefully. If the negative complaints pertain to the same thing, whether the product tastes bland or poor service, it would be best not to purchase.